Martin Tidd & Robinson’s Rangers

Commanded by its namesake, Captain Thomas Robinson, Robinson’s Rangers was a citizen militia unit during the American Revolution. My ancestor Martin Tidd is listed as serving in this unit in a document at the Pennsylvania State Archives, some of which are online. (Martin’s brother William also served during the war. William Tidd’s file at the National Archives is nearly 200 pages and mentions his brother by name.)

Robinson’s Rangers were part of the militia from Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. It appears from depreciation pay records that they must have served with the Continental Line for a period. Generally “rangers” were militia who fought on the frontiers in Pennsylvania – generally protecting the settlers from attack by Native American and English forces. Here is a small bit that mentions Robinson’s Rangers in a history of Pennsylvania’s frontier forts.

“Col. Hunter, whom I consulted, was of the same opinion, the only difficulty was to fix on some place equally well adapted to cover the Frontier, as Fort Muncy was; Fort Muncy having been evacuated and destroyed.” So Fort Muncy appears to have been destroyed the second time, as Lieut. Moses Van Campen, of Capt. Robinson’s Rangers says, in the latter part of March, just at the opening of the campaign of 1782, the companies that had been stationed during the winter at Reading were ordered back by Congress to their respective stations; Lieut. Van Campen marched at the head of Capt. Robinson’s company to Northumberland, where he was joined by Mr. Thomas Chambers, who had been recently commissioned ensign of the same company. Here he halted for a few days to allow his men rest, after which he was directed to march to a place called Muncy, and there rebuild a fort which had been destroyed by the Indians in the year 79. Having reached his station, he threw up a small blockhouse in which he placed his stores and immediately commenced rebuilding the fort, being joined shortly after by Capt. Robinson in company with several gentlemen, among whom was a Mr. Culbertson, who was anxious to find an escort up the West Branch of the Susquehanna into the neighborhood of Bald Eagle creek. Here his brother had been killed by the Indians, and being informed that some of his party had been buried and had thus escaped the violence of the enemy, he was desirous of making search to obtain it. Arrangements were made for Van Campen to go with him at the head of a small party of men as a guard. Lieut. Van Campen was captured while on this expedition and taken to Canada, where he remained some time, so we get no further information from him in regard to this rebuilding of Fort Muncy for the third time. Fort Muncy, if properly garrisoned, was an important position for the defense of the valley below it; here was a good place from which to support scouting parties, west and north, and from which passes of the Muncy hills to the eastward could be covered by strong scouting parties, but the country lacked men, and means to support them at this critical time. Near the site of Fort Muncy is the Indian Mound described by Mr. Gernerd in his “Now and Then,” and near the Hall’s station is the grave of Capt. John Brady, with his faithful old soldier comrade, John Lebo, buried by his side. The spring still defines the location of the fort.”


8 thoughts on “Martin Tidd & Robinson’s Rangers”

  1. Hello Aaron,
    Thanks for posting the info about Robinson’s Rangers. I have an ancestor, Francis Isherwood, who also served in that unit. His certificate is 219 and the date is the same as Matin Tidd. Francis’ total is 1.13 so he must have served less time. I’m not sure whether Francis lived in Northumberland County before the Revolutionary War but he did afterwards, and his brother held land there. It’s hard to imagine northern Pennsylvania being frontier country 200 years ago. Although units like Robinson’s Rangers seldom get mentioned in histories of the Revolution their service was probably more dangerous for the fighting was fierce and there weren’t a lot of prisoners taken on either side. As you note, the lives of our ancestors are important to remember. Regards

    1. My ancestor was Leonard Groninger. Who was captured with LT Van Campen. He escaped and made his way back to Northumberland County.

    2. Capt Thomas Robinson was my 3rd great grandfather, I enjoyed reading your article. I have just become a member of the DAR, with him as my Pateroit

  2. My Ancestor Adam Hempleman is listed as a member if Robinsons Rangers. A distant cousin paid a professional to research her tree for the DAR. His information says Robinsons Rangers provided foraging and Scouting at Valley Forge. The information he has says the Rangers along with other local militia were absorbed by General Washington’s forming the 2nd Battalion of the Pennsylvania Line. Adam and his Brother George served all the way to Yorktown

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